Given Identity – Journal 9/6/17

I’m gearing up and putting together a manuscript for the Copper Canyon Press, due before Halloween! It’s a first ISBN-published book contest with a $3,000 prize and royalties. All poetry! Submissions are by way of manuscript. Which, to me, is good news. Publishing is something I’m good at, but only having to worry about content this time is good.

My plan of attack is to put together what is essentially a concept album. I feel like I’m really really good at being self-referential, so all the poems I’ve put in the collection I’ll submit call back to one previous in the collection. Also some original content written just for the theme of the collection: Red Men. If it doesn’t work out with this contest, you better believe you’ll see the collection in one form or another! I’m quite proud of it!

I’m having beta readers look through it to make sure everything that’s included is contextually sensible. That’s my one worry. I want it to seem like a concept album, but with words you can only do so much!

Speaking of publishing stuff, I’m needing to put together a small chapbook for that place in Tacoma to carry. And I need to talk to the people who run Anthem to see about if they’d be willing to carry some local poetry. I really hope that goes somewhere.

So what’s been going on lately outside of that? Well Rainbow 6 just dropped the Blood Orchid patch and it’s amazing. But aside from that?

The Pacific Northwest is still on fire. Oregon, North California, Western Washington, all burn once again and the sun’s turned red behind a haze of ash. I’m sipping coffee and looking at an orange sky outside my living room window.

I stopped by my former mentor’s classroom again. He got a new room! Super happy about it. Moved from a shitty little portable to a proper art room that’s maybe 6 times the size of what he used to have. Seeing progress even as I’m gone makes me happy.

Also yesterday made my first thrift store drop off run. A bunch of books and clothes are now entering the Value Village in Puyallup, straight from my room. Still so much to get rid of in preparation for moving. Me and my roommates are going to take a look at other apartments in our area, as we’ve recently stumbled across some other places that are comparable. Stuff’s moving forwards!

This journal’s excerpt will be from “Radcliffe Tea House”:

“When you pour
Into porcelain
Liquid medicine
Cut tea

That breaks the rim
Of fine china where
Your lips meet
And invoke the dream”

In this poem, the goal was/is to reference Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and Alice: Madness Returns in particular, as much as possible. Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit will always be the one to beat when it comes to referencing Lewis Carroll, for many reasons including the era it was referenced in. This poem was actually written in a place I’m going to be bringing a publication to. A tea house! I didn’t know these places existed until I found myself in one. But the poem is about imagination and phantasm. I love it!

Today I’m continuing to listen to Deadmau5’s while(1<2), specifically the song “My Pet Coelacanth”. Nice repetitive track that rolls with its background. Check it out!

And in addition to checking that out, check out my main site if you’re seeing this on the reader! It’s where all of my bread and butter is!

I’d like to close this journal with talking about some things that I’ve been thinking about lately. Humanity. I know, what a broad fucking umbrella topic, Jake, did you use that one to get around a shitty high school essay prompt?


I’ve been thinking about people and the animosity that can prevail when communicating over the internet. I’m not talking about cyberbullying (loosely and improperly used term these days). I’m talking about people representing themselves in a really awful way by being pricks.

Everybody is entitled to the first amendment. Freedom of speech and the press is something I take a lot of pride in. As far as measures go, that is one thing that makes me proud to be born in America. That’s also the absolute most patriotic I will ever be. But I like free speech a lot. It’s my first love!

But people can be savage when they are given a security blanket in not confronting someone in person over something they normally would when they’re talking online. Take for example a situation me and my dad found ourselves in last night while playing the new patch for Rainbow 6 Siege.

Now something about this game for those not in the know: it’s a round-based tactical shooter. You die easily and deaths are permanent for the round. 5 vs. 5, best of 5 rounds wins. We’ve been playing this game since it came out, and I stream it as much as I can on my Youtube channel. We have a lot of fun with it, playing in a 5 man squad with other family members. It’s a good time even though the game can be frustrating.

Smash cut to last night. Just me and my dad playing the new patch, and we’re in the middle of a firefight (with 3 other teammates the game found for us). My dad blasts in the direction of an enemy, and a teammate walks in front of his gun while shooting at the same enemy. My dad gets credited for the kill on the enemy, and also kills our teammate. Knocked out for the rest of the round until the dust settles.

As soon as the round ends, and we jump into the game to start the next round, the guy my dad accidentally killed turns and shoots my dad. Intentionally. Before any enemies are even near. So I start messaging him asking why he did that, and the consensus was he didn’t care and was retaliating. He didn’t care.

There’s just something about taking someone else’s experience and dragging it through the mud for no other reason than he didn’t care. This attitude can be found in any place that isn’t a physical world interaction. It’s somewhat troubling. “I’m gonna take this fun thing and make it not fun for you”. I don’t understand it and I’ve always rallied against it in the name of utilitarianism.

After some point of messaging this guy, he says to me that I’m taking this way too seriously. Made me laugh. Maybe I am. But you know, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with trying to let everyone have as good a time as they can, right?

Anyways, just something that’s been on my mind. I’ve been interacting with people like that more and more lately, all using their real names or easily traceable aliases. It worries me that people are going to allow themselves to be represented like that. And continue to with no regard for self-awareness. You’re completely free to represent yourself however you’d like, but it seems that when a majority of people are given internet access and social media accounts they’re more apt to be pricks than much else. Personally, I’m quite vain and I know that!

Identity and representation is concerning to me. As is the theme of my collection being submitted to Copper Canyon Press: Red Men.

More news to come!

In the meantime, thank you for tuning in to Radio Reality. City! Feel free to wander the archives, put in some comments, even subscribe if you like what you’ve heard so far! We can only get better the more we write!

Published by Jake Thomas Shaw

Concerned with memory, currency, and destiny, I strive to capture each one as they happen. Join me and consume reality! Radio Reality. City!

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